So, you have decided need birth control. Maybe it’s “for your skin,” or “cramps,” or you’re thinking about having sex and want to protect yourself. It can be tempting and convenient to take your friends’ advice (or take their birth control pills – we’ve heard it all), but neither of these strategies will get you off to a strong start on birth control.
If you want the whole story on birth control and info that can help you, start by talking to a doctor or another healthcare professional. When it comes to getting birth control, first you have to figure out what kind is best for you, and then you need to figure out where to find it.
The over-the-counter options include condoms and birth control sponges. These are available at drugstores, supermarkets, gas stations, and adult specialty stores. Condoms are also frequently available for free at public health departments. You can enter public health and the name of your county into a search engine to find out what services they offer.
If you don’t want to buy condoms in person, they are also available online and can be shipped to you. One of my favorite sites is goodvibes.com. They do a lot of research, educations and product reviews, so you are getting very reliable information regarding lubes and condoms.
Prescription birth control include pills, patches, the ring, the shot, the implant, and the IUD. These require an appointment with a doctor or nurse to determine if they are safe for you and which option would suit you the best.
If you can’t remember to take a pill every day, then the ring or patch might be a better option. Some different hormones can have side effects, so they will talk to you to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions that may be made worse by birth control before prescribing it. This is the same reason why you NEVER want to take your friends pills to try them out.
Birth control pills are very safe for the vast majority of women, but there are some people with medical conditions or genetic factors that can have problems and it’s important to be sure they are safe for you. Many states have laws that protect your privacy when you are seeking birth control. Planned Parenthood, public health clinics or your pediatrician or gyno can help you out.
When your birth control fails:
The morning after pill is over the counter at pharmacies in many states, in case of an accident.
Whatever you do, don’t make your own:
There are a lot of funny stories floating around regarding homemade condoms from plastic wrap, plastic baggies, chip bags, balloons, shower caps, tin foil, and wax paper. The list goes on. Making your own birth control barriers is a bad idea. Here’s why:
Many of these materials are porous. That means sperm can still get through. They are also irritating and can cut the vagina (and probably his penis, too). Irritation in the vagina can increase the chance of getting an STD. Condoms are specially designed for sex. They don’t cause irritation, they’re made of specialized materials that will not allow semen to pass through, and they’re designed to stay in place.
If you don’t have any on hand, run to the closest corner store, it’s worth it.